Sierra Nevada College


Sierra Nevada College (SNC) is a private four-year, non-sectarian liberal arts college founded in 1969 with campuses in Lake Tahoe, Las Vegas, Reno, and online. Its main 18-acre campus is located on the north shore of Lake Tahoe, Nevada. The founders of SNC wanted to include the unique environmental qualities and characteristics of the Lake Tahoe region – an area renowned for its forests, mountain range, and alpine lake – into the school’s academic programs. This goal is still reflected in the core curriculum and mission of the college:

“Our graduates will be scholars of and contributors to a sustainable world. SNC combines the liberal arts and professional preparedness through an interdisciplinary curriculum which emphasizes entrepreneurial thinking and environmental, social, economic, and educational sustainability.”

SNC’s four core themes of liberal arts, professional preparedness, entrepreneurial thinking, and sustainability are an important part of all classes and extracurricular experiences. Dr. Lynn Gillette, SNC president, says: “What we are about, more than anything else, is having our students do real things. Our students are engaged in doing what we like to call applied active learning where things are real, and all of the core themes are incorporated in that.”


At SNC, students are active and engaged learners. The student-faculty ratio is 11:1, and 82.4% of classes have fewer than 20 students. Thus, students benefit from intimate classroom settings and the opportunity to know and work with faculty members both inside and outside of the classroom. Each academic program includes hands-on learning opportunities such as internships, scientific field work, business plan competitions, service learning, and student research under faculty mentorship.

SNC offers over 37 majors and concentrations in five departments. The most popular majors include: Business Management and Marketing, Interdisciplinary Studies, Outdoor Adventure Leadership, Visual and Performing Arts, and Psychology. SNC is also known for its programs in entrepreneurship, environmental science, computer science, entertainment technology, English, teacher education, ski business and resort management. (SNC is one of the only colleges in the U.S. that offers a Bachelor’s Degree specific to the snow sports industry.)

The SNC Fine Arts Department offers a studio setting with 24/7 access, allowing students (and professors) to capture creative inspiration at any time. The Science and Technology Department is highly acclaimed for its focus on Environmental Science and Ecology, Environmental Policy, and Biology. The teacher education program leads to initial teacher certification in Nevada as well as to a Master of Arts in Teaching degree. This is the degree most often pursued by people who want hands-on teaching experience and are seeking to work directly with students, in contrast to a Master of Arts in Education geared more towards moving beyond the classroom into research and administration.

Student Life

SNC has a total undergraduate enrollment of about 500 students with a gender distribution of 58.6% male and 41.4% female. 60% of the students at the college have cars on campus. Approximately half of the students live in college-owned, -operated, or -affiliated housing and the other half live off campus. SNC requires that full time freshman and sophomore students must live in residence halls until they have earned 60 or more college credits. Available to all students on site are a laundry facility, student lounges, and a game room.

Campus activities include intramural and club teams, faculty vs. student softball games, an award-winning student newspaper, a literary magazine that publishes work garnered through national submissions, an annual Poetry Slam, and some 13 student clubs and an active Student Government Association that organizes such student favorites and the Winter Formal, the Charity Poker Tournament, and Bohemian Talent Night. SNC also hosts Summer Visiting Artist Workshops which feature well-known artists and attract students from all parts of the United States, Europe, and the Far East.

SNC students are encouraged to participate in outdoor activities on campus and in the surrounding Sierra Nevada area. From backpacking, rock climbing, and mountain biking to kayaking, river rafting, and other water sports, there is something for everyone. SNC students are even provided with a membership to the award-winning Incline Village Parks & Recreation Center which offers extensive cardiovascular facilities, an indoor pool, basketball courts, aerobic classes, championship golf courses, and a tennis center.

SNC’s Outdoor Adventure Program allows each student access to such far-flung activities as surf trips to Mexico and bike tours of San Francisco. In addition, SNC has one of the best environments for winter sports in the country. The campus is located near some of the biggest ski resorts in North America with an average of 30 feet of snow per year. SNC gives all students a unique opportunity to take advantage of these amazing skiing conditions, while also boasting award-winning skiing and snowboarding teams.

Homeschool Applicants

SNC recognizes that not everyone follows the same path through high school. If you have a homeschool diploma, G.E.D diploma, or nontraditional academic record, your application will still be considered. But it is important that you provide as much information as possible to help admissions representatives understand your unique situation. For example, homeschooled students must submit a curriculum list and course descriptions. Additionally, homeschooled students must submit an SAT or ACT score report including two SAT subject tests, one in mathematics and one in English Literature or History. You may be eligible for transfer credits for AP and other advanced coursework completed during high school. SNC also grants credit for CLEP examinations.

SNC expects all applicants to have completed four years of English, three years of mathematics (including two years of algebra and one of geometry), two years of social studies, and two years of laboratory science. Two years of a foreign language are encouraged but not required. You should have a minimum 2.6 cumulative Grade Point Average, and SAT Math and Critical Reading scores above 400 or an ACT comprehensive score above 19. Students whose academic record falls outside the above standards may be eligible for Provisional Acceptance, while incoming freshman students with a 3.5 GPA and/or scores of 1250 combined on the SAT I or 28 on the ACT are eligible to apply for the Honors Program.

True to SNC’s commitment to individualized education, each application receives a confidential and in-depth review. SNC uses a holistic approach to identify students with integrity, high academic standards, and serious educational and personal goals. After reviewing your GPA, high school curriculum and test scores, SNA puts the official paperwork aside and looks at the REAL YOU. They pay special attention to your personal statement, academic letter(s) of recommendation, and leadership in your school and community. Though an interview is not required, you are encouraged to visit SNC and talk with them in person. Applications are accepted on a rolling basis, although it is strongly recommended that students complete their applications as early as possible. SNC has an acceptance rate of 69.3%.

SNC’s tuition and fees were $28,483 for the 2013-2014 school year. Approximately 64.2% of full-time undergraduates receive some kind of need-based financial aid scholarship or grant award. Prospective applicants are encouraged to visit Monday through Thursday during the school year to meet with your personal Admissions Counselor, get a student-guided tour, and enjoy a meal in the dining hall. You may also observe a class and speak with faculty members. Special arrangements can be made if you can only make it on a weekend or during the summer. If you are serious about applying, they will even provide a complimentary overnight hotel room for two people. Or take a virtual tour here: To learn more about Sierra Nevada College, visit

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